Press Release
February 22, 2014


Senator Chiz Escudero said the Senate Committee on Finance will look into the absorptive capacity of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to carry out programs funded under the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA) in order to hasten the implementation of various mass transportation projects.

Escudero, who chairs the finance committee, said the probe is line with Senate Resolution No. 494 (PSR 494) he filed to determine the cause of delays in the project implementation.

The DOTC is the biggest implementing agency under the administration's Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program, but ironically has been slow in carrying out projects, particularly railways and mass transportation system.

"The delays are incurred in the implementation of three railway projects, IT projects, the release of license plates for motor vehicles, and the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3) expansion and MRT acquisition. Each day these projects are delayed only adds to the burden of the riding public who relies solely on mass transportation," Escudero said.

In the resolution, Escudero reiterated his call for the government to take over the operational control and ownership of the Metro Rail Transit Corporation (MRTC) and urged the DOTC to strictly implement Executive Order 126 put in place by President Benigno Aquino III, authorizing the DOTC and the Department of Finance to buy out the MRTC to the tune of P56 billion.

The DOTC and the MRTC have been locked in a legal battle over the purchase of 48 train coaches for MRT 3 - a project envisioned to improve the mass transport system and increase the frequency of train service.

In the resolution, the senator said it is axiomatic in law that all government agencies, as part of their implementing task, satisfy the twin requirements of procurement planning and budgeting linkage and availability of funds through appropriation to address all issues in project implementation.

"But the DOTC has been delayed in its projects. Instead, projects are subjected to litigations and sometimes prohibitory judicial orders and questionable bidding procedures and project awards," he lamented.

Escudero said such delays could never be countenanced, especially now that the country is vying to become a viable investment destination in the region.

He added that the people are running out of patience over the agency's delays "which but prolong the agony of the Filipinos they are supposed to serve as the lead agency for transport and communication."

"The state has limited resources to address all the needs of the public but it tries to prioritize according to the needs. And given that the DOTC has been provided appropriation to implement mass transport projects, it should do its part to maximize the use of these financial resources and provide sufficient and efficient mass transport system as part of its mandate," Escudero pointed out.

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